A verbal tussle between lawyers representing Nestle India and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) unfolded inside Bombay High Court during the hearing of Nestle’s petition challenging FSSAI’s Maggi ban. While FSSAI accused Nestle India of misusing the High Court’s order allowing the food giant to export, the former alleged that FSSAI did not conduct tests of Maggi noodles in accredited labs.
Senior counsel Iqbal Chagla, representing the company and FSSAI lawyer Mehmood Pracha, exchanged heated arguments before Justices V M Kanade and B P Colabawalla.
Pracha claimed that Nestle misused HC’s order while calling its product safe on its website. The FSSAI claimed that freshly manufactured batches of Maggi noodles being exported were devoid of lead, perhaps, making it safer for consumption in the international market.
Seeking a clarification in the order, Pracha accused Nestle of continuing to destroy Maggi batches in India while exporting freshly manufactured Maggi noodles. He said the company could have gone ahead and exported the same product instead of destroying it in cement units.
Pracha said that the 72-hour notice, supposed to be given to the retailers, is being misused by the company and it can destroy evidence within that period.
He said the company was yet to reply to the showcause notice issued by the food regulatory body, adding that it had not divulged proper information even though e-mails were sent to them seeking details of recall.
Chagla, on the other hand, said the product, labelled “hazardous” in India, was found to be fit for consumption in several countries including England. He accused FSSAI of not conducting the tests at its accredited labs.
Contesting the statement, senior counsel Darius Khambata, representing the state government, “You (Nestle) have to get it (tests) done here and not anywhere else.”
On June 5, FSSAI ordered Nestle to withdraw all nine variants of Maggi noodles from market, terming them “unsafe and hazardous” for human consumption.